Professional Experience Year Co-Op Program (PEY Co-op)
Engineering Career Centre
Contact ECC: engineeringcareers.utoronto.ca/about-us/contact-ecc
About the Program
The Professional Experience Year Co-op Program (PEY Co-op), managed by the U of T's Engineering Career Centre (ECC), has a 40-year track record of helping undergraduate students connect to industry, apply in-class learning to real-world environments and gain significant work experience.
The degree-long program starts with career development and workplace readiness training to prepare students for employment. This is followed by one or both a summer work term and a longer PEY Co-op work term of at least one year. These competitively paid work terms are offered by a broad range of organizations, from Canadian startups to multinational corporations.
Students not only fulfil the practical experience requirement for their Engineering degree but also develop an extensive network and proven professional skills, setting them up for long-term career success.
Enrolment in the Program
Once a student is registered to participate in the PEY Co-op Program, completing the PEY Co-op work term is a mandatory part of their degree requirement. Students who choose not to participate in the PEY Co-op Program should consult with their Academic Advisor about meeting the Faculty's mandatory 600 hours of practical experience requirement (PER) before graduation.
Prospective students can indicate their interest in PEY Co-op when they apply for studies at U of T Engineering through the Engineering Applicant Portal. The applicant's choice to participate in PEY Co-op does not affect their admission eligibility in any way, and can be changed later.
Alternatively, students can register for the program on the ECC website anytime during their first year of studies or in their second year, until the Winter term deadline to add new courses.
Approximately 90% of students choose to participate in the PEY Co-op Program.
The PEY Co-op Program comprises several phases during undergraduate engineering studies:
During Year 1: Exploration and Reflection
- Students explore industry options and professional development opportunities as they reflect on their objectives for PEY Co-op and their career.
During Year 2: Preparatory Program and Recruitment Cycle for Summer Co-op Work Term
- Students learn about career development and workplace readiness through four modules:
- Develop Your PEY Co-op Job Search Strategy
- Build and Manage Your Professional Brand
- Prepare for Onboarding & Workplace Dynamics
- Reach Out: Resources and Requirements
- Students may also participate in the recruitment cycle for an additional opt-in work term opportunity which takes place in the summer after Year 2.
Summer After Year 2: Summer Co-op Work Term
- The Summer Co-op work term is an opportunity which complements and sets the stage for the later PEY Co-op work term, allowing students to experience the workplace with a shorter-term commitment to one employer while providing them with valuable real-world workplace skills. Students build their professional network faster and benefit from early access to high-profile companies.
- Summer co-op jobs are paid roles that range from three to four months in length, run from May through August.
During Year 3: Recruitment Cycle for PEY Co-op Work Term
- Once students have completed the Preparatory program, they are eligible to participate in the recruitment cycle for the PEY Co-op work term. This includes employer information sessions in early fall and early winter, as well as job applications through the ECC Career Portal and interviews. Workshops and events are offered and career support is available.
Following Year 3: PEY Co-op Work Term
- This fully paid work term provides participants with 12 to 16 months of full-time experience at one single employer. It starts between May and September and runs until May to August of the following year.
- With approximately 400 hiring companies per year offering at least 4000 positions, there is usually more than one opportunity per student.
- The length of the work term offers students sufficient time to become involved in large-scale meaningful projects, establish a solid reputation with their employer and reach professional milestones.
- Work terms may take place outside Ontario. Past and current work term locations include Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Peru, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
During Year 4: Sharing Experience
- Students return to school full-time and complete their degree with the learning and insights gained from a year or more of professional working experience.
- They may choose to continue their involvement with the program by mentoring newer students as a Peer Coach or serving as a PEY Co-op Program Ambassador.